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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here's what it looks like on a Driving Tour!

I don't know how or where he found it, but my friend, Gary, sent me this video.

As I watched, it reminded me of so many of my driving tours to play music, or to take the family on vacation...

And, it starts in PEMBERVILLE, OHIO, my home town!

The travelers are taking photos once every 15 secs throughout the entire trip (I think a little editing of photos did go on, but the stop action feel is amazing!)

Take a few minutes to watch it, I think you'll enjoy it!



Ohio to Minnesota Time Lapse from Dave Lucius on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good Timber

While visiting Victoria, British Columbia for the first time, my wife and I heeded the advice of friends and toured the British Columbia Museum.  We noted a poster for the live performance of "Good Timber", musical settings of logging poetry of Robert Swanson.  We went back and purchased tickets to the evening's show.

Wow!  This talented cast (The Other Guys Theatre Company)  each took turns with the stringed instruments (guitars, fiddle, autoharp, bass guitar and mandolin) before handing them to each other for the next go-'round; percussion was played on the tools of the era, files on an axe blade or on its handle, a pipe wrench, a bowed crosscut saw...) and a harmonica rounded out the instrumental accompaniment.

Each one of the 6-person cast has a unique and rich voice, but their harmonic blend was tight and the voicing and instrumentation was quite varied from the high soprano to the basso profundo.

A Multi-media presentation of period video and still photographs was the backdrop for the costumed performers.

The run at the British Columbia Museum in downtown Victoria, BC opened on June 2 and will continue through August 28th, Monday-Saturday nights @ 8 pm.

If you find yourself anywhere in the vicinity, walk, run, drive, take the ferry and soak up the rich reflections of a vital industry, carried out by hard-working people who took pride in their labor, even as they made fun of it; lamenting tragic losses, being surprised by disreputable ladies who use their savvy in the service of hope, the "frozen logger" a song that my friend Gary Puckett introduced me to;

The company has released an excellent recording of all of the music in this show.  Below is a sampling of the tunes as a work in progress last year.

Friday, July 9, 2010

FLORA, NOT FAUNA

When I was in Eastwood High School Mr. Derr was our jolly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic Biology teacher.  

A huge, imposing man, he loved his subjects and that energy was infectious.  This was a time when the curriculum favored 9 week “mini-courses” and I took all of his but one in a year.  

I have vivid memories of Anatomy and Physiology ("Don't do anything inappropriate and gross with your probes!" Mr. Derr thundered) and Comparative Anatomy (when we began dissecting the dogfish shark we discovered it was pregnant. His gleeful giddiness at getting an 8-for-1 deal on this shark nearly overpowered the strong saltwater fish smell.  Almost.)   

And Taxidermy, for which I stuffed a quail, two starlings and a muskrat, all provided by classmates to this non-hunter/trapper's hands.

But the class I studiously avoided was Botany.  Plants just couldn’t hold my interest then.

My sister, Amy Jo, has fond memories of taking that class from Mr. Deer and told me she kept her sketch books for many years before they were lost to a plumbing leak.

Today, I’m thinking of Mr Derr and my internal shift because on this tour, I am blessed to observe several wild animals:  

—a couple of turtles that are migrating across the roads of southern Missouri beneath the morning sun;  (Steinbeck's chapter on the turtle crossing the road)

—a fox that is so captivated by a morsel in the middle of the road that its concentration nearly forces my car to help it join the prey in the hereafter as I near downtown Firth, Nebraska;

—3 black bears that Connie and I see in Tennessee, 

—the numerous road-killed deer that I drive past along I-80 in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. 

This time, however I am captivated by the Flora.  

When I drove across the country, from Maryland (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas) to Colorado in April, I was taken with the colors purple and lavender.  (""...Listen, God love everything you love---and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.






You saying God vain? I ast.
Naw, she say, Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.  ----Alice Walker quote from “the color purple”.)  
(My sister later informs me that these are the colors of Spring.)
Today, the corn in southern Missouri is way taller than our annual adage in Pemberville, Ohio: "knee-high by the 4th of July", more like Oklahoma's O, What a Beautiful Morning! song "...the corn is as high as an elephant's eye."


This time, the brilliant yellows, oranges and golds from the roadside lilies line my route in Missouri. 

Pink mimosa trees, 


Blue hydrangea bushes


 and 
magenta crepe myrtle in Tennessee ;



The gold and brilliant oranges of lillies in North Carolina;



Light blue cornflower lines the northern highway route in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. 

The earth is brimming with joyous color in celebration of its fecundity and the heavy ripeness of the season.  The colors are alive with sound!

I see,
I hear,
and I notice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Swapping Tunes with Don Pedi on Grapevine Road

After such a grand visit with Don and Jean Pedi a couple of years ago, when I dog-sat their 13-week-old pups for a couple of days and tasted Jean's delicious lavender custard with the freshly-picked blackberries that I plucked from the end of the seasonal run, I've been waiting for my chance to bring my wife, Connie, back to visit with them.  (I think she and Jean are cut from the same cloth.)

This year, with Connie's sabbatical from the Lutheran Campus Ministry, she was able to join me for the verdant drive from Nashville to Marshall, NC.  We surprised a big black bear who lumbered across the hillside highway climbing up from the French Broad River to a higher elevation in front of us.  Neither of us had seen a black bear, "in bearson" before!  
(We both agree the other is a lucky charm for us to see such a sight.)

Don and Jean are such gracious hosts and Cindy and Zolly, the 2-year old pups, are just as insistent on the need to play and be scratched behind the ears, but have more weight and height now to get their desires met!  
A run into Asheville to do errands confirms that Connie and Jean could be sisters--we HAVE to stop and shop at the Goodwill store.

Back at the house, we help welcome the new refrigerator and taste the first meal from their now-remodeled kitchen.  Anyone who has done or survived projects like these knows how LONG it can take until things are back to "close to normal" after living out of boxes stashes in strange places for so long.  

Don and I go down to visit Junior, whose house rests at the foot of the mountain.  The sweet smell of newly mown hay is powerful in the air and new crops are in the neighbors' fields as the end of the tobacco subsidies causes shifts and adjustments in their planting plans.

After the sun goes down, Don and I have a nice time swapping tunes, one of which is "Kitty Puss" which he taught me on my last visit, and which we played together to finish my set at the Colorado Dulcimer Festival this past February in Fort Collins.

He mentions another "crooked tune" the kind which we both enjoy, but then says, "let's not do that one, its a mess!"

He joins me on "Black Tail Weasel and the Ground Squirrel Clan" before we pronounce it a good night.

(You can see me demonstrate this tune here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hacAGwyuck)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dan Evans, the Olney Dulcimer Player at Kentucky Music Week

Week-long festivals like Kentucky Music Week can be like family reunions for both students and instructors who get to be reunited to swap music and share stories of our musical adventures during the past year.

This year, I was privileged to share a room with Dan Evans, from Olney, England ("about as far away from any of the English coasts as one can get!") who introduced himself to the other teachers as the "Olney Dulcimer Player" in attendance this week.  (Go ahead, say it out loud...)

After I read his article in Dulcimer Players' News in the Spring Issue I was eager to meet another accomplished player who prefers DAA tuning (and finds no need for extra frets--including the 6-1/2 fret--to play the music of his choosing.  Definitely a soul brother!)

Dry British humor is only one of the many characteristics I enjoyed in getting acquainted with Dan.  His fingerpicking style is facile and dextrous in a way that is still melodic and beautiful.  Although his stage set was hampered by some sound reinforcement hiccups, his playing then, and when we swapped some tunes privately, was very beautiful.

As a teacher, Dan has a keen desire to help his students grasp the skills and concepts and the commitment to accompany them as they gain skills and confidence.  His photographic eye is adept and adroit, finding and framing his shots in interesting and revealing ways.

Only after we parted at the end of the week and I was looking through my collection of Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer, Volume 2, did I realize that Dan and I both have recorded tracks on that collection!

(Dan offers his own reflections on Kentucky Music Week here)

Full-House, House Concert

(Note:  my posts from my Summer Tours will be in thematic, rather than chronological order)

Daryl and Michele Davis in Johnstown, Ohio, hosted a full-house House Concert on June 26.  This was their first house concert and was a great success! (www.concertsinyourhome.com provides a free pdf booklet with tips on hosting these kinds of events.)




House concerts are an intimate way to help people get close to the music and music-maker.  

We sang together, laughed, pondered, closed our eyes and were transported to other times and places, touched some sadness and wistfully remembered slow, Sunday summer afternoons...And concluded with the youngest member of the audience dancing enthusiastically while we sang Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Daryl and Michele invited family, friends, church members, co-workers and neighbors, and people came from my list also (including a friend from my pre-school Sunday School class in Pemberville, Ohio!)  



For the first time at this concert I used the Portable Light System that I purchased from Concerts In Your Home (it is hanging from the speaker stand on the left).




Here is the lighting of my set-up without the flash.




House Concert hosts often provide refreshments for their guests, and to my surprise, the Davis's ordered a brightly-decorated, multi-flavor cake!

Contact me [seulberg (at) steveeulberg.com] if you'd like to schedule a special one-of-a-kind musical experience!




Friday, July 2, 2010

Didjeridoo in the Ozarks!

On my 30 Dulcimer-Filled Years Tour this June (2010) in Memphis, Ilace Mears, Carolyn Mason and I head over to Celtic Crossings for dinner and an Irish Session. 

While Ilace and I sit outside chatting, up hurries a man with a familiar face.  We recognize each other but at first don't place the connection.  
Then he puts the pieces together:  "You play didjeridoo, don't you?!"  
(This is not the usual question I am asked, to tell the truth).
"Yes, I do."  
"I saw you play it at the Ozark Folk Center last summer during the Mountain Dulcimer Week,"  he explains. 
"And I have video, too!"

After dinner Ilace and I join the session and have a grand time playing dulcimers with the guitar/mandolin and other hammered dulcimer player, sitting in a tight circle, after the fashion of Irish sessions.

Barry Bianchi promises to forward the video and today it has arrived!  

video


I've invited Judy Klinkhammer, Margaret and Jerry Wright to join me and because my didj is "tuned" to Eb, Margaret has to re-tune (she is a REAL dulcimer player and can do that!).  Jerry chooses Rolf Harris's "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" to sing and play while I provide accompaniment on what I jokingly call the "Australian Dulcimer".

Special thanks to my tutor, Paul Taylor (http://paultaylor.ws) originally from Australia, who now lives in Laramie, Wyoming.